love and wet burritos

It’s almost Christmas time, boys and girls. The last week of Advent is actually on Christmas Day, but my last post of this series will be the Wednesday after Christmas. Extending the season, and whatnot.

So today brings us to the fourth week of Advent, or love. What better way to celebrate love than a meet cute?

(Note: a “meet cute” usually refers to a fictional couple in a movie or television show who meets in an interesting, sometimes hilarious way, and defies odds to become a classic romantic pair.)

Jay and I had our meet cute nearly seventeen years ago. We’re currently both 31, so over half our lives ago. Half. Our. Lives. I was a frizzy-haired, awkward high school freshman, as was he (with less frizz). We first got to know each other during our high school’s production of Alice in Wonderland. He was on the crew, and I was playing the Duchess — a character who doesn’t see a lot of play in the Disney film, and in the book she is described as hideously ugly. Fantastic.

Anyway, we made her a gypsy, and to complete the look, I dyed my staticky blonde hair jet black (a look that magnificently highlighted my extremely pale skin). Each performance, we coated my already dyed hair with black hair spray to really make sure that color came through. And to top it all off, I had the worst case of laryngitis I’ve ever had in my entire life. Quite a picture, no?

Every night, when I wasn’t onstage, I drank a horrible concoction of herbs and, if my theatre teacher was to be believed, spit from various animals. And every night, Jay stood behind me and rubbed my shoulders, and while he did so, the black hair spray would flake off and stain his hands.

I tell you, I was spoken for ever since.

That’s not to say we’ve been cloud-walking and untouchable since that moment. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs. Our colleges were a thousand miles apart. He would sometimes keep his emotions buried far too deeply inside. I would sometimes let my emotions rule my every word and action. We have come a long way through the years.

A word to everyone who is married, or in love, or looking for love — find your person, and remember why they’re yours. Our love today isn’t always Jay risking black-stained hands to give me a back rub, or me walking around with stars in my eyes, overwhelmed by sweet feelings. Sometimes our love is Jay telling me to take a nap or me telling him I’m going to take the boys out for a couple hours so he can have the house to himself. I am absolutely certain that nothing will come between us, because neither of us wants anything to.

It’s cliche, but, married people? Remember why you fell in love with your person. Remember it when he or she isn’t acting that way you’d like them to. Remember it when the craziness of the Christmas season comes to a head, and you could really use someone to lean on instead of fight with.

And maybe when the craziness dies down, make their favorite dinner?

Here’s Jay’s:

WET BURRITOS

finished burrito
I forgot to take an “after” picture when the cheese was melty and delicious because… reasons. (WE INHALED THEM.)

(Note: “wet” burritos are apparently kind of a West Michigan thing — read: not incredibly authentic. But Jay loves sauce, and this recipe delivers.)

Ingredients

Sauce:

1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 can refried beans
Salt and pepper

Burritos:

1 pkg burrito-sized tortillas
1 lb ground beef
2 tbs 100 Days of Real Food taco seasoning (or package of store-bought taco seasoning)
1/2 can refried beans
Shredded lettuce*
Diced tomatoes*
Plenty of shredded cheese

(*Despite my best efforts, Jay is not a veggie-burrito lover. You will not find these ingredients on his burrito. You will find them on mine!)

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start the ground beef on a skillet on the stove. Meanwhile, add the tomato paste and water to a saucepan over medium heat. Add spices (change, omit, or add as you see fit, but don’t omit the cinnamon without trying it at least once), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add salt and pepper to taste.

When the ground beef is cooked, drain the grease and add in the taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Open the can of refried beans, and add half of the can to your sauce and half to the ground beef. Stir. Spoon some of the beef mixture into the middle of a tortilla,

meat in burrito
Meat mixture right in the middle — top with veggies if you choose!
folding a burrito
How to fold a burrito in four easy steps — 1. top left, 2. top right, 3. bottom left, 4. bottom right.

top with lettuce and tomatoes if desired. Fold up the sides of the tortilla so the meat and toppings stay inside, and place it seam-side down on a steak plate or baking sheet. (We prefer steak plates because everyone gets their own sauce contained on their plate. If you don’t have steak plates, this may be slightly messier; you’ll be fine.) Cover the burrito with the sauce and top with plenty of shredded cheese. Put it in the oven until the cheese melts. Dig in!

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